Author Topic: I *thought* we had no cc debt...  (Read 18162 times)

Freedom2016

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I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« on: August 20, 2013, 07:53:48 PM »
Husband and I pool all income and give ourselves a bi-weekly allowance. We're free to use the allowance however we choose.

I learned a few days ago that my husband has spent a lot more than his allowance, racking up a balance of $1500 on his personal cc. He knows I'm furious. This isn't the first time he's been less than totally responsible with money, and it's why I handle our books. I thought the allowance would cap his spending, but it obviously didn't.

I don't want to treat him like a child, but part of me thinks I need to make him cut up his cc and use only cash or a debit card -- WITHOUT an overdraft line of credit attached to it. But this feels like it infantalizes him, and I don't want to set up that dynamic. We're supposed to be partners!

He implied that he hoped we could increase our allowances to help him pay off the balance. In truth, we have more than enough in joint accounts to pay it off tomorrow, & start fresh. But I'm pissed -- it's not fair. I spent within my means. Why should he get a bail out? There's also some history here: a few years ago he surprised me with a $500 debt he owed. We paid it off with joint funds and then he said he would repay "us" out of his allowance. He never did.

So do I "force" him to lie in his bed this time? (with the likely outcome that he never makes a dent in that balance because he'll keep spending his allowance amount) And if so, doesn't that make me the parent punishing the child for being naughty? (again, not treating him like a partner, but like a child?)

Mustachians, I could use some ideas for dealing with two things:

(1) How to prevent this from happening again? (can it be done without me forcing him to cut up cc's?)
(2) What to do about the $1500 balance?

James

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 08:01:33 PM »
Have you thought of marriage counseling to create a place you can bring up this discussion with someone providing the framework and guidance for the discussion? I sympathize with all of your points, there just isn't some good unilateral action that will resolve this issue for you. It's going to take real change on the part of your husband, but I really think that change needs to come from him, not something you impose.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 08:04:34 PM »
Yes, we do have a counselor we can see -- same guy who did our pre-marital and actually the same guy my husband had been seeing independently before that.

It's a good idea. One wrinkle: we're moving cross-country in 5 weeks and I'm unsure how many sessions we can get in / how much we can accomplish in such a short window.

But it's worth getting in to see him at least once or twice. Thanks.

James

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 08:16:34 PM »
Sorry, realized I didn't answer your questions...  :)  I highly doubt you will prevent it from happening again in some way or form, but he should be able to come up with a plan with your input that minimizes the risk. Cutting up cc might work, but you forcing him will most likely create all sorts of other issues.


Regarding the balance, does he realize that he "stole" from the family? I think it's very important that you communicate the importance of his actions in a calm and rational way that he can understand. He didn't spend money that didn't exist, he spent money that belongs to your family, which is a very serious thing if he realized what he was doing at the time. I think those ideas are more important that what happens to this particular balance, just make sure you treat it seriously now, or I would imagine the cycle will continue.


I think it's key that he figures out the plan for payment of they money, if he says "what should we do", I would remind him that he spend the money so he should suggest the plan to pay it back. It's not your responsibility to figure it out or suggest payment options, though you certainly will have big input on what the two of you finally agree on.

Hugh H

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 08:17:59 PM »
Perhaps automatically reduce his allowance by a certain amount, and use that amount to pay off the card slowly but surely?

The trick is in the delivery. If you approach this in a hostile way he will be hostile back. Be very calmed, don't show anger… and ask him how you guys can pay it off. If he has no good ideas then bring up your own… calmly but firmly.

olivia

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 08:35:51 PM »
Wow, I'd be seriously pissed.  (I'm the one in charge of our finances too, and I also struggle with trying to get my husband to spend within the budget.  Like you said, it can cause a weird dynamic.)  I do think he needs to cut up the credit card, since he clearly can't control himself.  But again, you don't want to infantilize him.  However, if he was acting like an adult, he could have communicated to you that he needed a larger allowance because of XYZ prior to just running up his credit card.  What did he buy? 

I'd ask him his plan for paying it back.  Can he sell things?  Or earn extra money somehow to pay off the card?  It's really not an acceptable solution to increase your allowances to pay it back...that's pretty ridiculous, actually.  And it's super selfish (AKA childish) to expect you to just up the allowances so he can pay for his mistakes without any sacrifice.

N

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 08:40:26 PM »
I agree that it sucks to find out that your spouse is hiding something from you, and that you are dismayed and surprised by the debt.
obviously the agreement isnt working.
I think there are 2 things:
Is it a case of no matter how much his "allowance" is, he is always going to go over? is it defiance? is it about being sneaky? is it shame?

or is it a matter of what he really wants costs more than you think he should have? if he had more allowance, would he stay within it? if so, perhaps you just need to increase his amount. if you can live with a lower amount, they do not have to be exactly the same.

if its the first, you guys really gotta talk. couples shouldnt sneak around and lie to each other.

do you know what kind of stuff he is buying that he cant pay off?

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 08:59:26 PM »
I just asked him to make an appointment with our counselor, and when I told him why, he was clearly shocked. He doesn't think it is a big deal, certainly not something that warrants outside help. :(

I told him I do see it as a big deal and that I want us to have some help in talking about it. So he's going to make the appointment. At least I can say that he's always been open to getting counseling, so that's a good sign!

As for sfts's questions... unfortunately I do think it's a case of "he'll always spend over his allowance." I don't know everything that's run up the bill, but he mentioned things like buying lunch at work... I'm under the impression that it's mostly small repetitive expenses over time, not big ticket items. And I don't know if it's defiance, being sneaky, or shame. I'm not sure he knows.


swick

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 10:31:31 PM »

Regarding the balance, does he realize that he "stole" from the family? I think it's very important that you communicate the importance of his actions in a calm and rational way that he can understand. He didn't spend money that didn't exist, he spent money that belongs to your family, which is a very serious thing if he realized what he was doing at the time. I think those ideas are more important that what happens to this particular balance, just make sure you treat it seriously now, or I would imagine the cycle will continue.


James hit the nail on the head. Actually reading the above made me kind of stop. I would never have considered the behavior in that light, but that is what it is. Framing it like that may be the wake-up call he needs.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 11:11:24 PM »
I've been wondering why he was so surprised by my request to see a counselor, and I think I may know why.

When I was pregnant with our son, we knew I would be taking 4 months of unpaid leave -- cutting my income by 1/3. So we went through the budget and made cuts across a bunch of areas, including halving our allowance allotment. That started in 2012.

I think my husband always envisioned those cuts to be temporary (what can I say, he's no mustachian...) so my guess is that he racked up the cc in anticipation of us being able to go back to our previous allowance levels, allowing him to eventually pay it off.

In the coming year, I'm going to make windfall earnings and even if we do revert to our old allowance levels, it will constitute 1.3% of our take-home pay (or about 0.75% of gross).

Not sure how to process this, if this is what he's thinking. It still annoys me that he ran up debt.

lbdance

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 01:20:27 AM »
My husband is someone who will buy on the CC (joint) for an item that is not able to be purchased in cash and knows that I will take it out of his allowance next time. If it is an item that would mean he got no 'pocket money' for the fortnight I would then do it over two fortnights. However he then also does extra work / freelance type jobs to try and earn extra $$. Is it an option for your husband to do any extra work to help pay for it?

Perhaps one idea would be to cancel his personal CC so that any items purchase are purchased out of an account you have oversight of and could ensure was paid off / accounted for so there was no interest expense?

The other thing for discussion is what was worth spending and accumulating that much debt for, and does the allowance need to be adjusted? A friend of mine set their allowances based on her husband being able to buy his tobacco and petrol for the week and very little else. She then prove to him that she spent less on clothes than he did with his allowance, and then demonstrated that if she saved for a while she could buy bigger items. (this is a few years old now and he has now stopped smoking)

gooki

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 01:48:43 AM »
How big is the limit on the CC? If its only $1500, then I'd let him deal with it. The interest and repayment will have to come from his allowance, and he'll start to feel the pinch, and have to take responsibility for his actions.

If there's the possibility of racking up even more debt, then deal with it quick fast, before it gets out of control.

PolarBeer

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2013, 02:50:53 AM »
I just asked him to make an appointment with our counselor, and when I told him why, he was clearly shocked. He doesn't think it is a big deal, certainly not something that warrants outside help. :(

I told him I do see it as a big deal and that I want us to have some help in talking about it. So he's going to make the appointment. At least I can say that he's always been open to getting counseling, so that's a good sign!

That's promising at least. But he should be able to understand why this is a problem without a counselor. Is that counselor on the same page as you with regards to finances? These people are just humans and you never know how they might react to such a specific issue even if they're supposed to focus on the larger ones.

chesebert

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2013, 04:22:22 AM »
What did he buy for $1500? How long has he carried the balance? Is it a one-time expense or does it suggest some on-going nonmustachian behavior?

$1500 is not that bad in the grand scheme of things (e.g., I have a headphone that costs this amount - acquired in my premustachian days). I also spent about this much in the past 30 days on a tripod/ballhead and a used camera lens.

You should just pay the $1500 off, letting the interest accrue on a cc is pretty stupid.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 04:28:40 AM by chesebert »

lhamo

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 05:03:06 AM »
As you work through this it might be useful to get copies of all the statements back to the point where he started carrying the balance and look at things like:

1)  What did he actually spend on;
2)  How much did interest charges and fees add to the total;
3)  How much value did he actually get for the things he spent on -- would he make the same charges now knowing how it all added up and
4)  After you've looked at those things, are there legitimate reasons why it might be right to bump the spending allowance back up again, given where you are now financially.

Good luck working through this.  For me the trust/lack of open communication issue is MUCH bigger than the money itself.  He hid something from you, apparently for quite some time.  Not good. 


52cents

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2013, 05:49:46 AM »
My wife and I have the exact same issues. It's not yet perfect, but what really helped us is using the YNAB software.
We see a therapist too which helps.
The act of sitting down once a month and agreeing to a budget face to face rather than one person writing up the law really helps us. She still goes over her allowance while I save for future purchases. It's the 'dripping tap' kind of spending that adds up.
Be patient, I find it very hard sometimes.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2013, 07:25:02 AM »
How big is the limit on the CC? If its only $1500, then I'd let him deal with it. The interest and repayment will have to come from his allowance, and he'll start to feel the pinch, and have to take responsibility for his actions.

If there's the possibility of racking up even more debt, then deal with it quick fast, before it gets out of control.

Funny, we both just pulled our FICO scores & credit report last week. His FICO score is 799 - stellar - and even higher than mine (772). The credit report shows his personal cc limit is $20,500.
Quote
I'm going to channel Gail Vaz-Oxlade here:

[Gail voice ON]
Your husband is CHILD-LIKE with money. You wouldn't hand a loaded gun to child so don't give him credit cards with which he has demonstrated he will blow your finances up with.
[Gail voice OFF]

Doesn't matter what he spent the money on. Even if they were "joint purchases", he didn't clear it with you first. He made his bed. Insist he pay it back, using his own fun money over a period of months. I'd go so far as to tack on that $500 he said he'd repay you that he never did. Make him man up.

Yes, I'm a hard-ass when it comes to fiscal responsibility. It's part of being an adult and "taking your medicine."

If you let him weasel out of taking full responsibility, you're encouraging bad behavior by tacitly accepting what he does.

I'm not interested in "letting him weasel" out of his responsibility. I'm also not convinced that communicating about this in such a hardline fashion (aka Gail) is going to be productive. Although I would really like to, I think that that style of communicating will likely cause (more) damage to our marriage.

Without question, he's damaged my trust and made me question whether we really share the same values around money. We've been talking about our financial goals a lot lately, and I really thought we were on the same page. In fact, we were meeting with a prospective financial planner when he dropped the debt bomb on me -- and HE had been the one pushing us to find a financial planner.

Shaming him (even if he deserves it) is likely to backfire - he'll get resentful instead of motivated. And I want a motivated spouse.

This is why James's advice was good: I think we need a therapist to help us navigate the issues.

Frankies Girl

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2013, 07:33:27 AM »
My first post on here was about the fact that my husband went waaaaay over on his monthly spending allowance. It wasn't credit card debt, but straight up cash. I yelled, he felt really bad and I felt bad about the fact I was being put in a parent/child position instead of us being partners. Thing is, husband really did feel bad about the amount and said he'd just got stupid and hadn't realized just how much he'd spent, so we talked out what was going on.

The big thing that you should be concerned with (besides the debt) is that your husband has a pattern established of not respecting your mutual financial decisions, and the lack of trust. If he's done this before, that concerning. If he's never followed through on making things right when it comes to debts owed (to his own family!), that's also an alarming pattern. If he doesn't see that this is a big deal, I'd be very concerned and make sure that you both sit down and have a serious discussion about how his actions effect how you feel about him and your family as a whole.

The fact that you say he will act resentful if you take a hard-line approach... that screams to me "petulant child that knows he's wrong but refuses to admit" type of thing, might just be my experience. So it sounds like he is acting pretty childish/selfish and he needs to start looking at the big picture - how his spending effects HIS family and not just himself.

Whatever he spent the money on, is it too late to return it? Can he sell off some of his possessions to pay off the card? Does he want to make you start monitoring his spending - like a parent - and is that fair to you to be put in that position?

Good that you've got a counselor, and hopefully you'll be able to work all of this out. So sorry you're having to deal with this, tho.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2013, 07:47:32 AM »
I haven't seen his cc statements yet but from his description it sounds like most of the spending was on lunches at work, treating friends/family to meals (for various reasons), buying tix to concerts (that he takes me to), etc. So there's nothing to return. Some of it sounds like legit shared/joint expenses but he says only a few hundred of the total fall into that category.

An added wrinkle is this: my job is going to be extremely lucrative in the coming year, and we are actually moving across the country for 12 months to be close to the work I will be doing. As a result, my husband is leaving his job to become a stay-at-home dad. To be clear, he is really excited to be home with our son, but I worry that this is going to reinforce some unhealthy roles/expectations around money. Basically, I worry that at some level he sees me as his sugar mama. And if I can't trust him to be responsible with money, to truly be my partner in financial matters, we could get into a yucky parent-child controlling dynamic (with ME being the controlling person).

Saving mom

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2013, 08:01:18 AM »
Been there. Good luck with that. It is not easy to reverse roles. I would just clearly delineate who is responsible for which items in the household and have weekly budget meetings. I would not treat him like a child on an allowance. You are partners. He will be taking on the MORE stressful role IMHO. Perhaps if you are meeting all of your financial goals, you should up the personal allowance a bit.   Definitely talk about the credit card debt and the reasons why he spent money on frivolous items and see if there are ways in your new city where your husband can meet new people without having to spend a lot of money. My experience is that it is very difficult for SAHD's to be accepted within the mom-dominated playgroups. He might need to get creative in ways to meet people - the local YMCA is always looking for coaches for teams, there might be a meetup group for SAHD's, etc.. Being home all day with the kids was not good for my husband and we decided that it makes more sense for him to work even if it just covers the nanny. A) it's investing in his career, and B) its cheaper than therapy and divorce. :)

simonsez

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2013, 08:03:39 AM »
Similar situation happened to me.  I was reviewing the annual credit report a couple years ago and noticed a balance was being carried on one the credit lines for which my wife is the primary cardholder and I am listed on it.  I was incredibly pissed, and as usual, the amount being carried over paled in comparison to the trust/disclosure reasons.  I calmed down (helped that I realized she was still making on-time payments) and we talked about it.  It turns out she was afraid to tell me about it and was embarrassed (and probably would never have told me), exacerbated by the fact she knew I was big fan of this strange blog about mustaches and that I/we were trying to implement some of the financial strategies listed on there.  It wasn't easy and there were compromises, emotional/social and financial/budgetary, that were made but we haven't had any hiccups since and are being more realistic (mainly me) and responsible.  My lesson learned?  Being financially savvy is great but if you and your significant other are not on the same page, one party will come off overzealous/parental/unrealistic and the other party will be viewed as lazy/childish, not good adjectives to describe a partnership.  If a serious sit-down or counseling does not work (from your vantage), try separating your finances more.

Also, I'm a novice relatively in relationships but I find that 'solutions' stick more often when both parties admit something they do or have done on an individual level which could be improved for the sake of the overall relationship.  i.e. In counseling, it might not be the best long-term strategy to paint the husband as having 100% fault here with the $1500 even if you feel that way right now.  I'm not saying you do feel that way or that you were planning on just having him (and he, only) improve during counseling necessarily but more so just in general.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2013, 08:14:40 AM »
Also, I'm a novice relatively in relationships but I find that 'solutions' stick more often when both parties admit something they do or have done on an individual level which could be improved for the sake of the overall relationship.  i.e. In counseling, it might not be the best long-term strategy to paint the husband as having 100% fault here with the $1500 even if you feel that way right now.  I'm not saying you do feel that way or that you were planning on just having him (and he, only) improve during counseling necessarily but more so just in general.

Thanks, simonsez. Helpful to hear your experience. I definitely agree with the above... the problem is, I must have a blind spot because I'm having a hard time identifying what I should be doing differently. Husband is the one who keeps talking about (for example) wanting a vacation home someday (this is a whole other thing that I'm not on board with yet)... but then he exhibits financial behavior that is completely at odds with this supposed goal.

gecko10x

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2013, 08:23:05 AM »
Perhaps "his" budget is/was unrealistic, and you can take some of the blame for this. If he agrees to try REALLY hard to stay within  his budget, maybe you can agree to increase it temporarily and then gradually lower it until you are both comfortable with it.

jat9449

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2013, 08:26:18 AM »
My husband had serious impulse control with our CC so we decided he needed to freeze it in a block of ice in the freezer. This way, if we ever NEED it we don't have to order a new one and wait for it to come. Since he froze it, he hasn't used it willy nilly. If there's something we need that we don't have in the cash budget we use my card. That way we have both discussed the purchase beforehand.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2013, 08:26:40 AM »
Perhaps "his" budget is/was unrealistic, and you can take some of the blame for this. If he agrees to try REALLY hard to stay within  his budget, maybe you can agree to increase it temporarily and then gradually lower it until you are both comfortable with it.

I'm open to being wrong about this... but is $50/week an unrealistic allowance?

simonsez

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2013, 08:43:49 AM »
For me, part of our compromise wasn't necessarily my individual behavior changing, but more so the amounts earmarked for our various endeavors.  This comes with the caveat that the fun things may not be as attainable (or put-off for a longer amount) due to more short-term funds being needed.  So I wasn't/am not doing anything differently post-sit-down myself but we were as real as we could be about timetables for student loan payoff schedules + vacation(s) + down payment for house + kids (timing, #) etc.

You can't expect a vacation house at a certain point in time if the planned budget or assets/savings leading up to that point don't match up.  This realization of long-term goals being affected and adjusting of the short-term funds is an iterative process. i.e. once my wife realized that childbearing was being affected, she reduced how much short-term money she actually said she needed with zero additional nudging from me (while avoiding carrying a balance).  So yes, it turns out I won't be the world's biggest badass when it comes to paying back my school loans in record time but my/our life has much bigger fish to fry.  We're happy, on the same page, and moving right along just fine.

ChiStache

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2013, 08:51:00 AM »
This is a difficult situation. You've gotten a lot of good insight here. I'll just add one bit of advice about the logistics of separate discretionary spending:

I recommend that you EACH use debit cards for your discretionary spending.  If you both do it, it wont be like you're punishing your husband. Turn the over draft protection off, and that way there will be a true limit to the spending. A limit that can't be fudged or adjusted at a whim. This is an simple system that could save you a lot of aggravation.

My husband and I have separate checking accounts for discretionary spending. Our pay checks are auto debited into those accounts, and then all but $250 each is transferred OUT of the accounts (some to a joint bill pay account, some towards long term financial goals). The $250 we each have per pay period is used for grocery shopping, trips to the ATM, all other discretionary spending. It works very well for us: no more bickering about day-to-day spending.


suntailedshadow

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2013, 08:51:19 AM »
I wish you both luck in coming to a compromise and sticking too it.

Might I throw out a suggestion? Go all Cash.

This may not be fully realistic for you depending on your situation however if you can swing going cash for everything then this will solve a world of problems. Don't just "Cut up" his credit card but instead take all the credit cards and and lock them up in the safe. Sit down once a week/month and look over the bills. Take what you need out in cash and give it to him. (Hopefully) once he sees what he has for the month then he will be 1. less likely to throw it out the window and 2. It will be (much) more difficult for him to overspend. This may be much more of a hassle and you may miss out on a bit of cash back/interest but it sounds like this will by far be the cheapest option and allow you both to remain on the same footing, still a partnership. A "Jarred" approach to finances like this makes this much more clear. If he needs more money if will literally have to be taking it out of a "Jar" marked for "Groceries" or "Kid(s)" or "Vacation Home". It makes the experience of spending money much more real and when my wife and I did this for a few months it worked wonderfully.

suntailedshadow

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2013, 08:58:38 AM »
Perhaps "his" budget is/was unrealistic, and you can take some of the blame for this. If he agrees to try REALLY hard to stay within  his budget, maybe you can agree to increase it temporarily and then gradually lower it until you are both comfortable with it.

I'm open to being wrong about this... but is $50/week an unrealistic allowance?

It does very much depend on what it is marked for but if it is used exclusively for "Things you don't really need" then I would say $50 a week is plenty. My wife and I have decided on $25 a MONTH each and $50 a Month together. We also subsidize these rolling accounts with doling out 10% to each of us (80% to savings) of any money we gain outside of my base salary (She is a SAHM). However... I realize we may be a bit on the Hardcore side of that discussion ;-)

NumberCruncher

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2013, 09:47:15 AM »
Perhaps "his" budget is/was unrealistic, and you can take some of the blame for this. If he agrees to try REALLY hard to stay within  his budget, maybe you can agree to increase it temporarily and then gradually lower it until you are both comfortable with it.

I'm open to being wrong about this... but is $50/week an unrealistic allowance?

It does very much depend on what it is marked for but if it is used exclusively for "Things you don't really need" then I would say $50 a week is plenty. My wife and I have decided on $25 a MONTH each and $50 a Month together. We also subsidize these rolling accounts with doling out 10% to each of us (80% to savings) of any money we gain outside of my base salary (She is a SAHM). However... I realize we may be a bit on the Hardcore side of that discussion ;-)

+1

We have $150 a month for both for "things we don't need" (thought this does include clothes) that I think is pretty extravagant.

Villanelle

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2013, 10:17:10 AM »
Of course what he did was wrong.  he agreed to something and the didn't follow through.  I think the post about stealing from the family is spot on.  Just because you don't like your paycheck doesn't mean it is okay to steal from your employer.  You renegotiated salary, not resort to theft and deceit. 

That being said, it doesn't really matter whether we think $50 is a sufficient allowance.  This might not go over well with this crowd, but there are other ways to live and they are perfectly valid.  Hirsute is not the only way to be.  Living mustachianly (I love a good colloquialism!) is important to you, but it sounds like it isn't as important to him, and that's okay. If you have no debt (other than his CC) and are moving in the right direction, then if he wants to loosen things up a bit, I think that's reasonable. 

Your changing situation complicates things, but it you can afford to give him another $20 a month and that makes him feel better about things, I'd say do it.  Just because he increases his doesn't mean you increase yours.  If saving is important to you, then save your additional $20.  How much is an extra $250/yr really going to set you back?  Is that time really worth it if your husband is chaffing under the perceived confines, and likely growing to resent you?  If you can purchase his enthusiasm and support for the plan, is that worth $250/yr and another few months of work before FI?

Personally, I'd suggest an increase of $10/mo ($2.50/week) with the stipulation that he pay the CC off out of that money and not let the balance get any higher (either through additional purchases or not keep up with interest).  Then when the CC is paid off, there could be an additional $2.50/week.  If he pays off the CC faster, he gets his extra $10 more quickly.  I'd also suggest getting rid of the CC.

That would be my proposal, and I'd see what his take was, and we'd go from there.  Having his buy-in would be way more important than a few extra months of work in my lifetime and frankly, having his buy-in probably costs less in the long run than an increase in fun money because he will feel invested and actually stick to the plan.

mrpress

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2013, 11:03:49 AM »
So yes, it turns out I won't be the world's biggest badass when it comes to paying back my school loans in record time but my/our life has much bigger fish to fry.  We're happy, on the same page, and moving right along just fine.
This is good advice and something I've had to do as well. I'd love to ramp our savings way way up and live a spartan life but my wife does not and I need to respect that and adjust my personal goals to be more in line with "ours". Many of us here are long-term thinkers and can see how a spending decision today or this year can affect us ten years down the road but many (most?) people can't grasp that and live in the moment with their dollars. It can be a tough thing to balance between partners and I wish you luck!

Undecided

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2013, 11:49:10 AM »
Perhaps "his" budget is/was unrealistic, and you can take some of the blame for this. If he agrees to try REALLY hard to stay within  his budget, maybe you can agree to increase it temporarily and then gradually lower it until you are both comfortable with it.

I'm open to being wrong about this... but is $50/week an unrealistic allowance?

It's unreasonable if he doesn't really agree with it and is just nodding his head when you lay out a master plan that he also doesn't really agree with. In other words---and obviously nobody here but you (and maybe not even you) knows the whole story---but it's not inconceivable to me from reading what you've written that this is your plan he's failed to live up to, and that you might not really understand his priorities (which, to state the obvious, aren't "wrong" just because they may differ from yours or be "unmustachian"). Is it possible that he's happy with his spending, aside from experiencing your disapproval?

oldtoyota

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2013, 11:58:15 AM »

An added wrinkle is this: my job is going to be extremely lucrative in the coming year, and we are actually moving across the country for 12 months to be close to the work I will be doing. As a result, my husband is leaving his job to become a stay-at-home dad. To be clear, he is really excited to be home with our son, but I worry that this is going to reinforce some unhealthy roles/expectations around money. Basically, I worry that at some level he sees me as his sugar mama. And if I can't trust him to be responsible with money, to truly be my partner in financial matters, we could get into a yucky parent-child controlling dynamic (with ME being the controlling person).

My suggestion is counseling, which you are already doing.

Your sugar mama comment disturbs me if it is true. If you are working FT--and he is not--and you can't get him to change his way or you want out, then it'll mean you possibly get stuck with 1) living (by law) in the state where you are moving for the sake of your child and 2) paying alimony until the child is 18. My neighbor has gotten stuck with paying alimony for an ex who just has not bothered to get a job. The ex is busy living with his gf.


Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2013, 12:19:22 PM »

An added wrinkle is this: my job is going to be extremely lucrative in the coming year, and we are actually moving across the country for 12 months to be close to the work I will be doing. As a result, my husband is leaving his job to become a stay-at-home dad. To be clear, he is really excited to be home with our son, but I worry that this is going to reinforce some unhealthy roles/expectations around money. Basically, I worry that at some level he sees me as his sugar mama. And if I can't trust him to be responsible with money, to truly be my partner in financial matters, we could get into a yucky parent-child controlling dynamic (with ME being the controlling person).

My suggestion is counseling, which you are already doing.

Your sugar mama comment disturbs me if it is true. If you are working FT--and he is not--and you can't get him to change his way or you want out, then it'll mean you possibly get stuck with 1) living (by law) in the state where you are moving for the sake of your child and 2) paying alimony until the child is 18. My neighbor has gotten stuck with paying alimony for an ex who just has not bothered to get a job. The ex is busy living with his gf.

I appreciate the concern, and I know that you're commenting based only on the words I've put on the screen. However, this is quite extreme and out of context given the entirety of our lives together. We are "married for lifers" and will sort this out. Husband lacks discipline, but he isn't a deadbeat or a gold digger. "Sugar mama" are my words, and they're about my fear/frustration that he is acting like money grows on trees.

He has set up a counseling appointment for us, and sent me a lengthy email today along with a spreadsheet showing his cc spending. He said my upset and counseling request was a 'wake-up call' for him; he hadn't been focused on what he was doing with his spending. He analyzed his spending in the spreadsheet, and ID'd where he went off the rails (a surprise date for me last May that was a spendy weekend get-away), realized that he didn't handle it properly by cutting back expenses elsewhere, and then listed a number of purchases that actually do look like legit shared expenses.

So... we've started the conversation. He seems to be taking responsibility, though there's a lot more we need to talk through.

James

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #35 on: August 21, 2013, 01:38:50 PM »
He has set up a counseling appointment for us, and sent me a lengthy email today along with a spreadsheet showing his cc spending. He said my upset and counseling request was a 'wake-up call' for him; he hadn't been focused on what he was doing with his spending. He analyzed his spending in the spreadsheet, and ID'd where he went off the rails (a surprise date for me last May that was a spendy weekend get-away), realized that he didn't handle it properly by cutting back expenses elsewhere, and then listed a number of purchases that actually do look like legit shared expenses.

So... we've started the conversation. He seems to be taking responsibility, though there's a lot more we need to talk through.


Excellent start, great to hear! Sounds like it's something that might have some fringe benefits, it allows you both the chance to work through your thoughts on finances and go into the coming changes with a clear plan. Sounds like you are handling it well.

livetogive

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #36 on: August 21, 2013, 01:44:52 PM »
I recently had a similar conversation which is why I think this might be relevant:

Be careful because the fault might be with incompetence vs. deceit.  Does that make sense?  My SO made an enormous accounting error and was shocked and scared when I was furious.  I realized she didn't do it because she was being sneaky, she did it because she's an incompetent accountant (to put it not so nicely).

When viewed in that light you're not infantizing him by taking away tools he doesn't understand.  You're helping him.

James81

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2013, 05:49:24 PM »
To me it sounds like a much deeper issue than just money. If you cut up the credit card and move him to debit, then what happens when he overspends and you wind up with overdrafts?

This is a serious issue. If he doesn't get on the same page as you financially, you're going to have a bunch of conflict in your marriage. To me, counseling is your only recourse here. If that doesn't work, you need to evaluate whether you want to stay in the marriage.

Mr Mark

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2013, 11:17:27 AM »
Sometimes people have a problem with paying with plastic, or even cheques. One way is to switch to a cash system, and to incorporate an incentive to economize elsewhere in the budget to offset, a way to 'earn' a slightly bigger allowance.

Having to hand over those green employees everytime connects better with a lot of people.

ZiziPB

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2013, 11:52:33 AM »

He analyzed his spending in the spreadsheet, and ID'd where he went off the rails (a surprise date for me last May that was a spendy weekend get-away), realized that he didn't handle it properly by cutting back expenses elsewhere, and then listed a number of purchases that actually do look like legit shared expenses.

One thought to add to this discussion: why didn't you question the spendy weekend get-away cost right there and then?  Where did you think the money came from to pay for it?  You also mentioned that some of the other CC spending he did was for things like gifts for you, dates, etc.  Didn't you wonder how he was paying for it?  I hope I don't sound too harsh by bringing it up but it sounds like to a certain extent you were the enabler here...  You shouldn't be giving him a hard time about it if you participated in the activities or, worse still, expected him to provide them.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2013, 12:08:22 PM »

He analyzed his spending in the spreadsheet, and ID'd where he went off the rails (a surprise date for me last May that was a spendy weekend get-away), realized that he didn't handle it properly by cutting back expenses elsewhere, and then listed a number of purchases that actually do look like legit shared expenses.

One thought to add to this discussion: why didn't you question the spendy weekend get-away cost right there and then?  Where did you think the money came from to pay for it?  You also mentioned that some of the other CC spending he did was for things like gifts for you, dates, etc.  Didn't you wonder how he was paying for it?  I hope I don't sound too harsh by bringing it up but it sounds like to a certain extent you were the enabler here...  You shouldn't be giving him a hard time about it if you participated in the activities or, worse still, expected him to provide them.

Interesting thought. I didn't know how expensive the concert tix were, or the B&B was. We had agreed that allowance money is ours to spend (respectively) and we don't have to get permission or even tell the other what we're spending it on. I was treating him like an adult and partner who knows what he can afford, and not policing his personal spending. I didn't know I needed to.

For example, I gave him an iPad for Christmas 2 years ago, out of my allowance. So I cut back my own Starbucks habit and other personal purchases in order to pay for it. I don't feel that I was wrong to believe or trust that he was doing the same thing when he chose to splurge on "us" activities.

In reviewing his charges, it looks like about $1200-1300 are business reimbursables or legit joint expenses (e.g. work clothes, cell phone to replace falling apart broken one, tux for a friend's wedding). Still leaves $500-600 in personal overspending that he didn't manage, and doesn't solve the problem of his lack of communication about any of it.

ZiziPB

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2013, 12:56:42 PM »
Not to beat the dead horse, but what is the allowance you are both getting designed for?  Work clothes, a new phone to replace a broken one, a tux to the wedding sound like expenses that should not be coming out of the personal allowance.  And how do you not know that he is incurring these expenses?  Same for dates with you.  Shouldn't that be a joint expense?  Do you ever take him out and pay for it?  Or is he expected to do it every time? If he spent money on toys or going out with his buddies and went over budget, then I think you are justified in giving him a hard time, but otherwise, I still question why you are so upset about it. 

Would he have to clear these expenses with you if he was using something other than his personal CC to pay for these joint expenses? Maybe for some reason he doesn't feel comfortable asking you for permission every time to spend from the joint account and ends up using his personal CC instead.  Sounds like you control the family spending - does he resent that?  Is he reluctant to ask because he feels like he has no say in it?

galaxie

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2013, 01:42:59 PM »
We have a separate "entertainment" budget that's mostly for dates.  It helps ensure that personal budgets get used for personal, non-jointly-useful things: haircuts, clothes, phones, etc.  Clothes, even work clothes, absolutely are a personal budget thing in our house, because if it weren't I'd probably accidentally overspend on them.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2013, 08:04:13 AM »
So I feel like I am getting face punched by some of these responses. It seems that some folks are saying I'm being too controlling (is he hiding spending from you because of that?); others are saying I'm not being controlling enough (how could you not know he was spending this kind of money?). Either way, it feels like people are blaming me.

We had jointly agreed on our budget in 2012, although I will say that H was a somewhat reluctant participant in those conversations - dismayed that we had to cut back on anything. He wouldn't consider ditching the cable or cutting our monthly housekeeper, so by necessity we had to cut back in other areas (work clothes, for example). I feel as though I am being blamed for his lack of discipline / hiding his spending - and isn't this entire Mustachian site about being disciplined in spending?

As for his cc debt: I don't really know why he didn't come talk to me if he was really down to threadbare clothes for work and couldn't afford to do pay for new clothes from his allowance, I don't know why he didn't discuss whether his new phone should be a joint expense or not. It could be that, when he does want to spend on something that's outside or beyond the budget, he never pairs that with "ok, so let's then cut back in this other area to make room." Which leaves me in the buzzkill role of having to point out that something else in the budget is going to have to give. I'm not sure what I should have done instead. Maybe he stopped checking in for that reason...maybe he feels like I'm the budget police, when I feel like making sure we control our spending is really basic, and absolutely critical for our financial future.

In premarital counseling we talked about money issues and he volunteered/agreed that he is not good with money. Our counselor talked about "playing to strengths" in marriage and that sometimes it was going to make sense for one person to play a lead role in one thing or another. We agreed that money was an area that I am better at, and so - by agreement - I am the one who pays the bills, tracks expenses, etc. I like playing around on spreadsheets, calculating time to FI etc., so I spend a lot more time thinking about money and the implications of spending today vs saving for tomorrow. I persuaded him that we should pay cash for cars, that we should pay off our debts as fast as possible, that we maximize our retirement savings, etc. I thought he was on board with all of this, and I never thought (or realized?) that I was being 'controlling' about any of it. I thought he agreed this was the role I was going to play. If he resents me for that, then we obviously have a lot to talk about. Just last week we met with a prospective financial advisor who wanted us to talk about our short- and long-term goals. So I emailed H the day before, saying "I guess we should figure out what our 5 and 10 year goals are. Do you have any thoughts? Here are a few ideas I have..." and I listed a bunch of things: paying off the last of our debt, getting rid of PMI, funding college accounts, maxing tax-advantaged savings, setting up taxable investments, being close to FI in 10 years. Is this me being controlling? He wrote back saying they were "great ideas" (and he added one more: possible vacation home.)

Also, I do take him out sometimes too -- for his birthday the last 3 years I've arranged surprise getaways and show tickets; I took him to a NYE concert of a musician we both love. I don't expect him to always pay or foot the bill, and plenty of our dates are paid with joint funds. The fact remains that he actually enjoys planning surprise dates for me... but I will say it's on him that he's spending so much money on them. I've never expected or asked him to drop a lot of money on our dates, or even plan them to begin with -- I'm always pleasantly surprised to see a surprise date blocked out on our calendar but again, I don't expect it. He's a musician and loves live music, so - by his choice - he tends to buy concert tix for the surprise dates. I'm happy to go, and yes, I enjoy the shows, but I would have been equally happy if he found cheaper things for us to do together. I don't think I've ever indicated that he has to drop big bucks to make me happy. And, again, to those who are wondering how I could be so unaware of this spending -- it's because I was deliberately trying to NOT be controlling or police him. I was treating him like an adult who can be responsible with spending.

We will be seeing a counselor in 2 weeks.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 08:12:25 AM by course11 »

Villanelle

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2013, 08:23:03 AM »
So I feel like I am getting face punched by some of these responses. We had jointly agreed on our budget in 2012, although I will say that H was a somewhat reluctant participant in those conversations - dismayed that we had to cut back on anything. He wouldn't consider ditching the cable or cutting our monthly housekeeper, so by necessity we had to cut back in other areas (work clothes, for example). I feel as though I am being blamed for his lack of discipline / hiding his spending - and isn't this entire Mustachian site about being disciplined in spending?

As for his cc debt: I don't really know why he didn't come talk to me if he was really down to threadbare clothes for work and couldn't afford to do pay for new clothes from his allowance, I don't know why he didn't discuss whether his new phone should be a joint expense or not. It could be that, when he does want to spend on something that's outside or beyond the budget, he never pairs that with "ok, so let's then cut back in this other area to make room." Which leaves me in the buzzkill role of having to point out that something else in the budget is going to have to give. I'm not sure what I should have done instead. Maybe he stopped checking in for that reason...maybe he feels like I'm the budget police, when I feel like making sure we control our spending is really basic, and absolutely critical for our financial future.

In premarital counseling we talked about money issues and he volunteered/agreed that he is not good with money. Our counselor talked about "playing to strengths" in marriage and that sometimes it was going to make sense for one person to play a lead role in one thing or another. We agreed that money was an area that I am better at, and so - by agreement - I am the one who pays the bills, tracks expenses, etc. I like playing around on spreadsheets, calculating time to FI etc., so I spend a lot more time thinking about money and the implications of spending today vs saving for tomorrow. I persuaded him that we should pay cash for cars, that we should pay off our debts as fast as possible, that we maximize our retirement savings, etc. I thought he was on board with all of this, and I never thought (or realized?) that I was being 'controlling' about any of it. I thought he agreed this was the role I was going to play. If he resents me for that, then we obviously have a lot to talk about. Just last week we met with a prospective financial advisor who wanted us to talk about our short- and long-term goals. So I emailed H the day before, saying "I guess we should figure out what our 5 and 10 year goals are. Do you have any thoughts? Here are a few ideas I have..." and I listed a bunch of things: paying off the last of our debt, getting rid of PMI, funding college accounts, maxing tax-advantaged savings, setting up taxable investments, being close to FI in 10 years. Is this me being controlling? He wrote back saying they were "great ideas" (and he added one more: possible vacation home.)

Also, I do take him out sometimes too -- for his birthday the last 3 years I've arranged surprise getaways and show tickets; I took him to a NYE concert of a musician we both love. I don't expect him to always pay or foot the bill, and plenty of our dates are paid with joint funds. The fact remains that he actually enjoys planning surprise dates for me... but I will say it's on him that he's spending so much money on them. I've never expected or asked him to drop a lot of money on our dates, or even plan them to begin with -- I'm always pleasantly surprised to see a surprise date blocked out on our calendar but again, I don't expect it. He's a musician and loves live music, so - by his choice - he tends to buy concert tix for the surprise dates. I'm happy to go, and yes, I enjoy the shows, but I would have been equally happy if he found cheaper things for us to do together. I don't think I've ever indicated that he has to drop big bucks to make me happy. And, again, to those who are wondering how I could be so unaware of this spending -- it's because I was deliberately trying to NOT be controlling or police him. I was treating him like an adult who can be responsible with spending.

We will be seeing a counselor in 2 weeks.

To the bolded, essentially, yes, but what if he doesn't want to be mustashian?  That's okay to.  It sounds like you wanted to overhaul the budget and you wanted to be mustachian, so that's what happened. If he never wanted those things, then of course he's going to struggle with them and of course he's probably going to cheat or fail--if he hasn't bought in, then these are just rules you've made that he doesn't agree with and yet is being asked to follow. I don't think you are being blamed, and his lying is 100% his fault.  But I think people are pointing out that is sounds like he is being expected to be mustacian because *you* want it, when he wants something else. 

There has to be room for both of your approaches.  Your second paragraph makes it clear that you are cast in the role of rule maker and enforcer.  that's no good for either one of you.

It's probably time to find a financial plan that meets a little closer to the middle of both of your ideas about spending and finance.  Right now, it sounds like it is your plan, with a few tweaks to get him to reluctantly agree. 

For a certain personality type, and especially when the roles of enforcer and subject have already been so established and he's gotten in trouble for deviating, sending an email asking him a question and the providing an answer can seem a lot like asking a questions and providing *the* answer. Yes, it's on him if he didn't speak up, but if you want to fix this, it's something to think about.

Maybe you can scrap the plan and start over.  Agree on a monthly saving and investing amount (and even here, there has to be room for compromise on both your parts--he may not want to save as much as you do, and that's okay.  Meet in the middle).  That gives you a monthly spending amount.  Then negotiate, together, where that money will go.  Let him figure out what is important to him.  Try to talk as little as possible, or to offer possibilities without suggesting how you'd weigh them.  "We still need to cut $200/mo from our current spending to meet the goal we agreed on.  It looks like fun money, groceries, the housekeeper, cable, and vacation all have some extra room.  Are there any in particular you think should be cut?"  Or "Cable could be cut to the basic package, saving $25, the housekeeper could work one less hour, saving $20, and the annual vacation budget could decrease by $250, saving about $20.  If we do 2 of those, we will be at our goal.  Do you have any preferences, or do you see somewhere else we can cut?"

Vilx-

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #45 on: August 23, 2013, 08:35:09 AM »
TL; DR. My 2 cents:

It's obvious that the debt itself here is the least of issues. Just pay it off today from your joint accounts so that you don't get more interest and forget about it. Also, that will make him feel guilty.

The real issue to deal with is trust. You don't trust him anymore. I gather that you've already told him that. Now you need to work on rebuilding that trust. My suggestion is - go for full transparency both ways. Either give each other access to your bank accounts or simply switch over to a single bank account with a card for each of you. That way you're literally taking money from the same pot. This will work both ways - you will be able to see as soon as something goes wrong, and he will be afraid to overspend because he will know that you can see it. Don't chew him out about this transgression. He already knows you're upset about it (or if he doesn't seem to realize it - ok, chew him out a bit :D). Anyways, leave this behind and try to "turn over a new leaf". Let him know that you've forgiven him about this, but that you will keep an eye on things.

If this transparency works - great. If it doesn't, and you find that he overspends time after time after time again - THEN it's time for some serious talks and/or counselling.

CommonCents

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #46 on: August 23, 2013, 09:53:56 AM »
Psych studies show that people are more apt to buy-in to following through on a decision if they have a hand in making the decision.  So in this case, I think it'd be a better approach to calmly explain why this is an issue and then ask him how he plans to fix things rather than telling him "you overspent your budget by $1500 and therefore I'm going to take $300 out of your next 5 allowances and cut up your credit cards."  If he truly has no ideas, then I'd suggest some as other have done before.  For example, you could propose that you cut back on the housekeeping, the concert budget, look for clothes at thrift shops, cable, etc.  You could agree on a set number of concerts a year, which will be paid equally by both of you (rather than him lifting most of the load).

But also, unfortunately, you may also need to compromise and increase the budgets if he's really upset about them in the first place and doesn't want to follow it.

Freedom2016

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2013, 10:08:37 AM »
Psych studies show that people are more apt to buy-in to following through on a decision if they have a hand in making the decision.  So in this case, I think it'd be a better approach to calmly explain why this is an issue and then ask him how he plans to fix things rather than telling him "you overspent your budget by $1500 and therefore I'm going to take $300 out of your next 5 allowances and cut up your credit cards."  If he truly has no ideas, then I'd suggest some as other have done before.  For example, you could propose that you cut back on the housekeeping, the concert budget, look for clothes at thrift shops, cable, etc.  You could agree on a set number of concerts a year, which will be paid equally by both of you (rather than him lifting most of the load).

But also, unfortunately, you may also need to compromise and increase the budgets if he's really upset about them in the first place and doesn't want to follow it.

I completely agree with the bolded; in fact, my career is based on this very premise.

Ironically, I thought that we both had had a hand in creating the original budget much like you suggest above, and that is what is so befuddling to me. I thought he wanted me to build the initial budget, which we both then talked through, and made adjustments. I thought he was bought in, felt ownership, was on board. I thought that, while he didn't like that we needed to tighten purse strings, he understood the need to. Maybe I didn't give him enough of a chance to puzzle through the math himself.

Obviously something went wrong somewhere along the way, and I misunderstood him and/or he didn't communicate openly with me. Maybe, since we need to revise the budget for the coming year, I should give him a blank slate and have him come up with it from scratch.

It does seem clear that he doesn't want to be a Mustachian. (Even though he wants things like a vacation home, which, in my opinion, requires us to be Mustachian in order to save enough money to have one one day...oh, the irony...)

Lots to sort out...

suntailedshadow

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2013, 01:26:48 PM »

Obviously something went wrong somewhere along the way, and I misunderstood him and/or he didn't communicate openly with me.


Don't let people give you a hard time, it seems obvious to me that you guys are very much on the right track. You both want to resolve the problem at hand and are willing to figure it out together. Based solely on the thoughts that you have expressed and the actions you have shared by your husband it seems to me that his actions were likely spurred by conscious avoidance of the problem and his perception of its severity. He didn't think about it because he didn't WANT to think about it. By the time he came around to the fact that he needed to face the issues it was probably larger than he anticipated. The things he did following the reveal don't seem to me to speak to him as one trying to hide it, or get away with anything. He simply doesn't think about money the way that we here think about money. To him the overspending was a minor problem until it got as large as it did. To us it is a disaster. That is likely why he was so surprised when you suggested counselling over it. He probably thought about this like some people think about putting those dirty dishes in the sink. Yes it needs to be done, but if you let it pile up for a few days its not the end of the world.

Just my 0.02

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: I *thought* we had no cc debt...
« Reply #49 on: August 24, 2013, 07:12:58 PM »

Maybe I didn't give him enough of a chance to puzzle through the math himself.

Obviously something went wrong somewhere along the way, and I misunderstood him and/or he didn't communicate openly with me. Maybe, since we need to revise the budget for the coming year, I should give him a blank slate and have him come up with it from scratch.

It does seem clear that he doesn't want to be a Mustachian. (Even though he wants things like a vacation home, which, in my opinion, requires us to be Mustachian in order to save enough money to have one one day...oh, the irony...)


Actually, I was going to suggest this, that you let him do the budget himself as a first draft. You can remind him before he starts to include savings for long term goals, such as college funds and a vacation home, or whatever else. It seems that he has the all-too-common mindset that if he spends too much, it'll just magically work out. He needs to see that in order to increase one part of the budget, another part has to decrease. Also, it will help him to see if that if he needs X amount for a vacation house, that means saving Y amount each month now. Again, he seems to be like many others who think that if they have enough money coming in, then eventually they'll be able to afford their long term goals. They often don't realize that it usually requires consciously saving for those goals. After all, money in is only one part of it - money out is the other.

Once he does an initial version of the budget, which may be especially difficult because of the many large changes you have coming up, hopefully you can prod him on the problem areas, instead of giving outright suggestions for how to solve them. Letting him figure it out himself could really help.

Good luck with everything! It sounds like you're on the right track to working this all out.